I have seen credit card companies and debt-buyers use some pretty unusual
tactics before but I just heard about a rather inventive if totally unethical
tactic which was being used by a company called Westlake in California.
Credit card companies and debt-buyers are usually looking to find where
someone physically is for one of two reasons, either they want to hand
deliver certain legal documents as required by law, or they want to find
a car and take it to sell at auction.
Finding a consumers phone number can often be a lot easier than finding
where they physically are. There are tools and resources available to
debt collectors which make tracking down a consumer’s phone number
trivial. Apparently Westlake has been calling consumers and pretending
to be delivering flowers or pizza and asking where the consumer was, so
that they could make the delivery. This is a text book example of a violation
of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) which
explicitly forbids debt collectors from making false, deceptive or misleading
statements as part of an attempt to collect a debt.
While we never want our clients to be harassed, as an attorney who deals
with a lot of FDCPA cases this is the sort of case I wish I had encountered
personally. This is such an egregious and ridiculous violation of the
law that a judge may very well slam them with punitive damages.
I don’t imagine that many people reading this blog will have debt
collectors call and pretend to be florists, that is definitely a new one,
however it is not impossible. If you are being pursued by debt collectors
and people call you and request your personal information or your location,
use caution and be skeptical. Ask questions about who the person is before
revealing any information.
For more details on Westlake’s activity: http://time.com/money/4066283/debt-collector-pizza-delivery-guy/
This document has been provided for informational purposes only and is
not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. Please
consult your attorney in connection with any legal issues related to the
matters discussed in this article as the applicability of state, local
and federal laws may vary.